Dr. Ryan B. Jackson recently accepted a position as the Executive Principal of Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, TN and was previously an assistant principal in an inner-city high school located in Nashville, TN. Before serving in a leadership role, Jackson was a high school English teacher, where he started his school’s first AP Language & Composition program and revived a student-centered, student-produced school newspaper.
Jackson is also the creator of the Competitive Teaching Model (CTM). That model formed the basis for Jackson’s successful TED Talk, A redheaded stepchild’s journey from underdog to advocate. You can learn more about Ryan by visiting his website at The Underdog’s Advocate.
Ryan talks about his unusual background – before he became an educator he dabbled in the movie business, and then did advertising copywriting, and how his life changed when he responded to a front page story about an inner city high school offering “combat pay” for teachers (2:20)
How Ryan became The Underdog’s Advocate (6:52)
Ryan’s most popular blog post is about the power of the Competitive Teaching Model and what it’s all about (10:00)
How Ryan became a TED Talk speaker (13:50)
Ryan’s motivation for becoming a teacher at an inner city school, some of his accomplishments there, and what drives him to stay in education (15:15)
More about Ryan’s education career journey from his first job to today (20:01)
Making the difficult decision to switch from teaching to administration (21:42)
Don’t neglect a mentorship if there’s one available (24:00)
You’ve got to have the courage to create to be a great leader (27:20)
Leadership isn’t just a job; it’s a way of life (29:00)
How to empower your teachers to be instructional designers, and how to deal with the pioneers, the fence riders, and the toxic 2% among your teachers (30:46)
Bringing drone technology to his school, and them beating out private schools in a STEM competition, is one of Bryan’s favorite memories (33:34)
Adopt the underdog’s mindset, and prove the majority wrong! (35:45)
Great leaders are comfortable with dissent, and not everyone is going to like you (40:00)
Some of the books Ryan recommends for current and aspiring school leaders (41:50)
Effective school leaders have got be hands on, out in the halls and classes, building your brand – people by day, paper by night (42:24)
Forget titles, and look to teachers as your fellow leaders. You get more power the more you give away (43:11)
If Ryan had a time machine, here’s the advice he would go back and give his younger self when he was just starting out in administration (44:16)
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Ryan’s blog post describing the Competitive Teaching Model: https://underdogsadvocate.com/2015/07/04/teachers-have-you-discovered-the-power-of-the-competitive-teaching-model/
YouTube video called How Bad Was It. A High School Turnaround: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emZW-RXHJBM
Ryan’s blog post describing the Fit Leaders Movement: https://underdogsadvocate.com/2016/01/02/empower-yourself-fitleaders/
Books mentioned in this episode
Connect with Ryan Jackson
Educators Lead is a podcast created to help launch educators into the next level of leadership. This show is for you if you are interested in educational leadership as an assistant principal, principal, superintendent, teacher or someone who hopes to be a school leader one day. Educators Lead offers inspiration and practical advice to help you lead more effectively. Jay Willis interviews school leaders three days a week to discuss why and when these educators made the decision to move into school leadership, challenges along the journey, and stories that made it all worthwhile. Educators Lead is a great resource for any educator looking to make a greater impact.
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